San Francisco at the Forefront of the Sharing Economy

There have already been some great recaps of this Tuesday’s sharing economy panel by Taskrabbit and Shareable, but here’s yet another one. We’re stoked to be part of the working group that will help shape public policy around this new economy that will enable greener lifestyles, bring people closer together, and make living in the city more affordable.

“As goes San Francisco, as goes the rest of the country, as goes the rest of the world.” – David Chiu

Sharable’s Neal Gorenflo kicked it off with a touching overview of the entire movement. The sharing economy was partly driven by the economic crisis and is a new way to live more fully. “Access better supports the pursuit of happiness than ownership.” In a world where people are starting to trust one another over large institutions, we are transitioning from a top-down factory model of society to a bottom up peer-to-peer model.

The panelists, Jessica Scorpio of Getaround, Molly Turner of Airbnb, Leah Busque or TaskRabbit, Jamie Wong of Vayable, and Jay Nath of the City of San Francisco all had great, unique insights to add to the discussion. Consumption through peer-to-peer models has the ability to touch everyone across the socioeconomic spectrum, from a homeless man living in the Tenderloin to stay-at-home moms looking to earn income while maintaining flexible hours to that new graduate who is barely making rent while juggling student loans.

There are also positive externalities: cleaner air and less congestion due to fewer cars, less construction and idle spaces due to hospitality exchange, and preserved local culture due to a more authentic way to explore. A common thread was that it’s important for cities to make regulations explicit and specific around new use cases that this movement creates.

“We are in many ways a cutting edge city in terms of tech, food, transportation, all sorts of things we’re really ahead of the curve. We attract a lot of forward-thinking people who want to do things in a different and more innovative way. We’re also a really old-school city, change here is very challenging. We get a lot of reflexive push back when we’re trying to do things differently. So much of this is really about educating the city as a whole.” – Scott Wiener, San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

As this the sharing economy grows, San Francisco will lead the world in implementing public policy around it. After all, as Turner said near the end of the night, “cities exist because it’s more efficient to collaborate and share resources.”

If you have thoughts that you’d like us to relay to the working group, we’d love to do so. Please contact us at

2 thoughts on “San Francisco at the Forefront of the Sharing Economy

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